CHICAGO (CBS) — Another Chicago business is providing a pop of color during a gloomy time.
CBS 2’s Lauren Victory on Monday had the profile of an event design company that is bringing its creativity to the streets.
A shift here, a tweak there until every petal is in place – Kehoe Design’s careful attention to detail hasn’t changed.
But the event design and décor company’s venue certainly has.
“Things have been challenging, to say the least,” said owner Tom Kehoe.
Kehoe and his team are the brains behind some of Chicago’s fanciest galas, weddings, and corporate parties.
“We’ve had over 250 events postponed or canceled. We furloughed half of our staff at 50% pay,” Kehoe said, “and then we’ve been able to get the PPP loan so we have everyone back at full pay right now.”
The staff are back to put in full hours on an unexpected assignment – bringing to life a popup flower shop in six different locations every day.
“My patio has nothing on it. Everything was just gray,” said Wood owner Gary Zickel. “There was no activity on the street.”
Zickel is also trying to survive COVID-19 financially.
“People are walking by and saying: ‘Wow, this is beautiful. Wow, I didn’t know you were here,’” he said. “So it’s given us the opportunity to kind of get the word out that we’re now doing delivery and takeout.”
We already spotted that cross-traffic in action. Some customers purchased a tree after picking up dinner at Wood earlier in the week.
“We kind of planned our day around this to come and pick up a plant for our balcony; kind of make our outdoor space a little bit nicer,” said Kevin Boots.
“Since we can’t really go outside right now,” added Aviva Oberst-Marshall.
The market’s vibes are good, even if the floral revenue doesn’t compare.
“It’s keeping the team active, engaged, motivated, and inspired so that part is fantastic,” Kehoe said. “Financially, we’re at 10% if that.”
So Kehoe Designs is trying to make headway in other spaces. Coming up will be the first Chicago Children’s Choir virtual gala. There is also a new “events to go” line – all to keep plants and dreams alive.
Weather is the trickiest part of the popup gardens. You can track closures and new locations for the Green Market Garden on Instagram.
CBS 2 is committing to Working For Chicago, connecting you every day with the information you or a loved one might need about the jobs market, and helping you remove roadblocks to getting back to work.
We’ll keep uncovering information every day to help this community get back to work, until the job crisis passes. CBS 2 has several helpful items right here on our website, including a look at specific companies that are hiring, and information from the state about the best way to get through to file for unemployment benefits in the meantime.